Let’s also steal their shoes
Let’s ask a couple of questions up front:
1. If you’re a musician, can you honestly or confidently say it’s never happened to you?
2. Whether you’re a musician or a fan, can you think of an inspired way to stop the rot?
I came across an essay that eloquently and also bluntly expresses the frustration so many artists must feel when their work, their passion and maybe their livelihood is whipped away from them without the slightest qualm.
The author, Lord K. Philipson, is a more than “just a musician,” if there can be such a thing. Have you ever met “just a surgeon” or “just a parent”?
Lord K. is the driving force behind The Project Hate MCMXCIX in Sweden. It’s his love and his life. Project Hate is the vehicle for the multi-faceted death metal he composes. He describes the music as “death metal and beyond”, which it absolutely is, reaching deeply into many areas of music. It’s inventive, extremely melodic and expertly performed. Here, have a taste. This is a short promo from the project’s Facebook page for their new album, “There is no Earth I will leave Unscorched”.
“There is no Earth I will leave Unscorched” was released on Christmas Day. It isn’t being sold through any music store or website. Project Hate sell directly to their fans, whom they call the Haters. The fans presumably wear that ID with pride and loyalty.
Well… almost all of the Haters might. Some gave Project Hate the worst Christmas gift any musician would loathe. Lord K. wrote about what happened. He followed up with another article about the aftermath. I call his words an essay because they so powerfully convey the sense of frustration and betrayal Lord K. and his project members are experiencing.
With Lord K’s kind permission, I’m quoting all of his words directly. Nobody but a musician can fully express what a musician feels.
It never fucken changes… you can’t teach Stupid to do the right thing.
Two years of pretty much daily work is invested in this album. Everyone worked their asses off to make it perfect, me more than anyone. Three different versions are digitally available at our site: a High Quality MP3 version, a HD FLAC version for the audiophiles and a High Quality MP3 instrumental version as a nice bonus. Complete with a PDF booklet for your printing pleasures and whatnot… All this for 150 SEK/17 Euros or 21 US dollars.
It was possible to fund this recording and make it as magnificent as it is thanks to the loyal Haters who donated to the cause of bringing it to life in these digital forms. No one else but these people who donated or later purchased it after it was completed got this piece of TPH history sent to them. No magazines, no Internet websites, no radio stations… no media whatsoever.
One would think that if you actually pay for something you would want other people to do the same instead of stabbing all these Haters and TPH in our backs by illegally uploading what you bought to the Internet for everyone to steal as they see fit.
One would think, anyways…
99% of you guys who made this beast come alive – “There Is No Earth I Will Leave Unscorched” was meant for you and no one else. Keep that in mind at all times.
Then we have this 1% of absolute scum who think it’s within their rights to illegally upload this album to the Internet after they bought it. I hope you’re real fucken proud of yourselves for doing this. I hope you understand that you’re killing the bands you think you’re supporting. I sincerely hope you suffer because of it. Preferably today, but tomorrow is fine too. Go fuck yourself, traitor.
Something that truly is putting a smile on my face is that I get a few mails saying: “I read that your new album has been leaked, but I will do what’s right and buy it from you. Money has been transferred.” It impresses me that there are people like that around, and I truly thank them for doing what’s right.
The little money I do make from sales after the budget for the recording and paying everyone involved was met is money that I also put back into the music by buying new software and everything else that comes with creating what I am creating with TPH and anything else I compose for. To see torrent sites where there are hundreds of seeders/leechers for this new album is not exactly motivating. Those are all people who obviously want what we are doing, but there’s no way in fucken hell that they will pay for it coz, you know… “sharing is caring.”
Isn’t it absolutely amazing?
There will always be these idiots claiming: “If you wanna make money you should go on tour!” When the fuck did it become a bad thing for someone who records and releases music to actually expect people to BUY it if they want it? It’s not about making thousands and thousands of dollars, I’m not delusional – I DO know what we’re doing is hardly ever making me wealthy (and that’s not the point), it’s about RESPECTING THE ARTIST who’s put in more hours into his/her work than you’ll ever understand. And all you’d need to do to make it right is to pay 150 SEK/17 Euros or 21 US dollars and keep the album to yourself. That’s like four beers at your local bar… for two years of insane work.
I don’t even know why I once again type all this. I did it with our last album after it leaked without it changing anything. This will not change anything either when it comes to these disrespectful cunts uploading one’s music illegally, but I just had to get it off my chest. Maybe it makes at least one of these imbeciles think twice when it comes to any other artist they are about to stab in the back. The damage for us is already done. If you’re one of these people who have illegally downloaded our latest offering, feel free to redeem yourself and order the whole thing through our website.
And this bears repeating: if you’re one of those awesome keyboard ninjas who feel like coming to our Facebook page to share your incredibly intelligent comments on how terrible the music of TPH is and how everyone’s effort, past or present, absolutely sucks, the price is too high, you have no money, blah blah blah – not only are you full of shit, but rest assured you will be blocked and your comments will be deleted, without discussion. My patience ran out long ago when it comes to this particular generation of Internet users. If you have nothing of value to say, or can’t speak with common decency – then say nothing at all.
That’s all. I have nothing more to say on the matter except thanks to you guys who are doing the right thing.
It’s invaluable to me and to The Hate.
Here’s the sequel that Lord K. wrote a few days later:
As mentioned earlier, as soon as some asshole decided that it was about time to put our album on the ‘net for every other asshole to illegally download, the orders for “There is no Earth I will leave Unscorched” came to a definite stop. One week after its release. One. Week.
Not only does this apply to OUR latest album, but I suspect it applies to ANY band’s album that’s being released in these times of Internet thievery and illegal downloading.
Support the bands whose work you’re stealing.
Support the eventual labels who release it.
Support music by purchasing what you’re listening to.
As long as the Internet’s around and the punishment for being a thief there is non-existent, nothing will change. But maybe, just maybe, if enough artists speak up it will make one or two of these disgusting little rats change their minds the next time they’re about to steal something. It’s better than nothing. We’ll just continue hoping for a swift death of the remaining ones.
Do what’s right. Pay for the art you’re consuming and show some goddamn respect.
Or, you know… the time when your fave bands and artists stop creating might come sooner than you think.
Is it worth it?
And if you’re a thieving troll about to go all-out ninja on your keyboard now – don’t even bother. You’re wasting your time and will be blocked as well as having your badly spelled comment of irrelevance deleted as soon as it’s spotted. Go do something else.
So we return to those opening questions.
Is there any musician out there who hasn’t been a victim of theft, the loss of your art, your intellectual property and some of your income? I’d be amazed if there is. Music theft and piracy have been around for decades, starting with cassette tapes of concerts or taped copies of vinyl albums. CD piracy is a colossal criminal enterprise. Online access to music has turned piracy into a global gorge-fest.
Is there a solution? And might it be a solution that will actually pay the artists more than a tiny fraction of whatever their music is sold for?
One thing is for sure – we can’t hope for a cure to arise from within the goodness of human nature. Theft is human nature. We like to think our ancestors were hunter-gatherers. Some of them were, occasionally. Most of the time they were scavenger-gatherers. We’re much more like hyenas than tigers. It’s easier to steal another another animal’s food than to work for your own.
Find out more about The Project Hate MCMXCIX by visiting their Facebook page. Give those folks a digital hug and tell them you identify with them and support their principles. Try their music. If you enjoy it, do as you would do – or, heavens, what you should do! – when you find any music you like. Pay something for it.